CainIV - 5:18 am on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)
With point D are you saying that image links are a good way to deal with text links that might appear to be paid?
Absolutely because images denote advertising more than a text link does.
pt B: If G is using this as a criteria, they are being highly presumptive and unfair.
You mentioned you nofollow links. That's what Google mentions they are asking for in your particular position of advertising and that is in fact what you are doing anyway since your links don't pass value.
Regardless of whether Google linking "sponsored" with paid is unfair, it seems to be the current case. If I were a search engine I would have a special "cabinet" for that keyword...
I agree with martini and you on that point (of post Penguin drops because of reduced value of links) At the same time I have seen pure examples of sites actually penalized by having hundreds of directory links (only) post Penguin now.
Matt Cutts announced today the next level of message transparency in which he mentions that websites who received the recent unnatural links penalty would receive next-level followups - and some that we follow did.
However, none of those lost any traffic in Google and got the better of the two followup emails, the one that talks about Google discounting the unnatural links and not the website itself.